Charlatan has stranglehold on first division of Arkansas Derby

Saturday’s Grade I, $500,000 Arkansas Derby (1 1/8-miles) was split into two divisions by Oaklawn Park. First up is our preview of division one, the 11th race on the program, led by CHARLATAN. Estimated post time is 6:29 p.m. ET. For our preview of division two, click here.

#1 CHARLATAN (EVEN, morning-line favorite) will win easily if he reproduces either of his runaway victories at Santa Anita from earlier this year. Those speed figures are head-and-shoulders better than any his competition can boast. CHARLATAN, training smartly for Bob Baffert, should go coast-to-coast under Martin Garcia.

#8 ANNEAU D’OR (6-1) could bounce back after burning money as the favorite in division two of the Risen Star back in February, where he finished ninth. The addition of blinkers may have backfired that day, but they have been removed by trainer Blaine Wright for this. ANNEAU D’OR will be reunited with Juan Hernandez, who piloted him to runner-up efforts in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and Los Alamitos Futurity in 2019.

#4 GOUVERNEUR MORRIS (9-2) moves up if there’s a scratch. He was fourth while over five lengths behind the winner in the Florida Derby last time out, but there’s little shame in getting beat by Tiz the Law. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS was within a length of completing the exacta that day. On speed figures, he has a solid case for place. John Velazquez rides for Todd Pletcher once more.

The play: $10 exacta 1/8

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